History

  • “A Jurisprudential Red Pill: Part I” — Evelyn Blacklock

    by James Wilson Institute on April 27, 2022
    Evelyn Blacklock reviews Prof. Adrian Vermeule's "Common Good Constitutionalism," which argues that both originalism and living constitutionalism have abandoned the classical legal tradition.
  • “‘It’s Good (Not) to be the King’: Qualified Praise for Michael McConnell” — Garrett Snedeker

    by James Wilson Institute on March 18, 2022
    Anchoring Truths co-founder Garrett Snedeker offers qualified praise for Prof. Michael McConnell’s recent book on executive power under the Constitution. While McConnell argues convincingly for public meaning originalism, he implicitly reaffirms judicial supremacy over interpretive disputes between the legislative and the executive branches. “McConnell’s most significant contribution to the scholarly literature is his thorough evaluation of Article II with a […]
  • “Justice Byron White and Abortion” — Hadley Arkes in The Catholic Thing

    by James Wilson Institute on February 24, 2022
    Responding to Richard Doerflinger’s critique of “Waiting for Dobbs,” Prof. Arkes asserts that conservative justices could successfully outlaw most abortions by returning to Justice White’s standard: only abort to save the mother’s life. At the same time, however, White did the pro-life cause a lasting disservice by focusing not on the rights of unborn babies […]
  • “The Smith Case, Religious Freedom, and Originalism” — Christopher Wolfe in Public Discourse

    by James Wilson Institute on February 10, 2022
    Responding to the Fulton decision, Christopher Wolfe argues that conservative judges who wish to uphold originalism should not overturn Smith. Some excerpts: “The Smith opinion was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the greatest twentieth-century Supreme Court originalist—maybe the ‘re-founder’ of originalism on the Court. It is surprising, and perhaps ominous, that the newly ‘conservative’ Court in 2021 […]
  • “When ‘Matter’ Really Matters” — Jesse Merriam

    by James Wilson Institute on January 17, 2022
    Jesse Merriam argues that Engel and Schempp are here to stay because the “matter” of modern-day society has corrupted the “form” of American jurisprudence. Rather than attempting to overturn these cases, conservative legal scholars and judges should learn how to make Founding ideas work in the twenty-first century. Some excerpts: “Incorporation of the Establishment Clause…means […]
  • “States, Courts, and Common-Good Conservatism” — Holden Tanner

    by James Wilson Institute on January 3, 2022
    Holden Tanner continues his dialogue with Josh Hammer and Jesse Merriam, arguing that to reform American jurisprudence conservatives need a new synthesis of the natural law tradition and the Antifederalist vision of state power. Some excerpts: “Hammer is correct that abstract human reason alone cannot restore conservative jurisprudence—careful attention to our history and traditions as […]
  • “And All the Students Said, ‘Amen’” — Keisha Russell

    by James Wilson Institute on December 17, 2021
    Keisha Toni Russell, Counsel at First Liberty Institute, argues that young Americans learn to respect religious liberty–and individual rights more generally–when religion flourishes in public. Some excerpts: “In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court reviewed two cases involving voluntary school prayer and Bible reading. The cases, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington Township School District v. Schempp (1963), contained […]
  • “A Common Call to Prayer” — Gunnar Gundersen

    by James Wilson Institute on December 6, 2021
    Continuing our symposium on school prayer, JWI Affiliated Scholar Gunnar Gundersen argues that the Establishment Clause gives federal judges no right to restrict religious activity in American public education. By forbidding school prayer, judges have encouraged a culture of relativism. Some excerpts: “Until recently, community prayer was not only non-controversial, but considered a necessary element […]
  • “Common Good and Common Belief in the Common Law” — Timon Cline

    by Chloe Edwards on November 30, 2021
    Analyzing past Supreme Court decisions on religion and public health, Timon Cline argues that the best judges consider public opinion as they attempt to rule in favor of the common good. Some excerpts: “The simple conclusion to be drawn from Locke, Viemeister, and Cole is that cognizance of the common good is a matter of prudential governance and that […]
  • “Abortion as Anti-Law” – Hadley Arkes in National Review

    by James Wilson Institute on November 20, 2021
    In anticipation of the Dobbs v Jackson Woman’s Health Organization oral argument, JWI Founder and Director, Hadley Arkes opines on the real possibility the Supreme Court issues an opinion reshaping its jurisprudence on abortion in the print edition of National Review. Arkes, joined by Robert George, Ramesh Ponnuru, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Carter Snead, contributed […]